Sunday, January 23, 2011

Family Coat of Arms

For several years I've wanted to create a family coat of arms; something that says and symbolize my family or the family I've created. I like the idea of a family or more specific my family being represented visually. Cities, states, countries and companies alike all have something visual that says this is us, this is what we stand for. That idea has grown more over the past maybe three years, I've toy with brainstorm ideas of what I want the coat of arms to look like. Today I finally put those idea down on paper. I went online research a bit, found COAs that best represent what I stand for and what I want my family to stand for. Ironically I'm creating a COA for a family with only one member, down from three in the sense that I'm the only one with my last night; how pathetic is that, I no longer have a family yet I'm creating something that represent a family (que violin music). But before I display the images and meaning behind the COA I'm working on I thought I would provide a bit of history behind the concept; perhaps it will inspire you to create your own for your family granted there are more than one member in your family.

A coat of arms is, strictly speaking, a distinctive heraldic design on a tunic used to cover and protect armour, but the term is more broadly applied to mean a full heraldic achievement which consists of a shield and certain accessories. In either sense, the design is a symbol unique to a person, family, corporation, or state. Such displays are also commonly called armorial bearings, armorial devices, heraldic devices, or arms.

Historically, armorial bearings were first used by feudal lords and knights in the mid-12th century on battlefields as a way to identify allied from enemy soldiers. As the uses for heraldic designs expanded, other social classes who never would march in battle began to assume arms for themselves. Initially, those closest to the lords and knights adopted arms, such as persons employed as squires that would be in common contact with the armorial devices. Then priests and other ecclesiastical dignities adopted coats of arms, usually to be used as seals and other such insignia, and then towns and cities to likewise seal and authenticate documents.

In the heraldic traditions of England and Scotland an individual, rather than a family, had a coat of arms. In those traditions coats of arms are legal property transmitted from father to son; wives and daughters could also bear arms modified to indicate their relation to the current holder of the arms. Undifferenced arms are used only by one person at any given time. Other descendants of the original bearer could bear the ancestral arms only with some difference: usually a color change or the addition of a distinguishing charge. One such charge is the label, which in British usage (outside the Royal Family) is now always the mark of an heir apparent or (in Scotland) an heir presumptive.

Because of their importance in identification, particularly in seals on legal documents, the use of arms was strictly regulated; few countries continue in this today. This has been carried out by heralds and the study of coats of arms is therefore called "heraldry". Some other traditions (e.g., Polish heraldry) are less restrictive — allowing, for example, all members of a dynastic house or family to use the same arms, although one or more elements may be reserved to the head of the house.

In time, the use of arms spread from military entities to educational institutes, and other establishments. According to a design institute article, "The modern logo and corporate livery have evolved from the battle standard and military uniform of medieval times". In the 21st century, coats of arms are still in use by a variety of institutions and individuals; for example, universities have guidelines on how their coats of arms may be used, and protect their use as trademarks. Many societies exist that also aid in the design and registration of personal arms, and some nations, like England and Scotland, still maintain to this day the mediaeval authorities that grant and regulate arms.

Now that you know what a COA is and the history behind it here is my early concept of what my COA will look like. Then I will explain the representation behind the COA

Coat of Arms

Explanation: In chosing my COA like I mention above, I want something that represent who I am and in extention the family I've created (in reality its just me). Everything about that COA represent something I strongly believe in and hold true to. When you see that COA its like the mission statement of a company, its says what I stand for, believe in and its what make me who I am. I'm changing, obviously, the COA around to suite who I am, colors symbols etc. so the explanation below will not match the sample photo above. I also didn't go into detail about the colors I'm chosing simply because for the blog it doesn't serve much purpose, but, I hope you can still visualize what I'm trying to create.

Meaning & Symbols: The rays behind the dove and top banner represent the sun and may it always shine over the family. The dove represents peace within the family. The crown atop the helmet symbolizes the grace and dignity that’s within the family and say, no matter where we go or what circumstance that lay in front of us we will always as a family and individuals of the family carry ourselves above the rest. Our family believe in being there for each other during good times and bad times, we are each other’s keeper, we are hard head, stubborn, we are committed and loyal to each other.

The helmet depict that commitment and the key on the helmet symbolize that our commitment is the key to our family strength. On the shield the picture of chains represents teamwork and strength; we as a family are only as strong as our weakest link. So the family must and will always work together to improve on our individual and collective strengths but also work equally hard to turn our weakness into strengths. Ying and Yang symbolize balance and without balance the family will be in chaos. It is that balance that will keep our family as one, that balance that the foundation of the family rest on.

The praying hands symbolize faith and trust in each other, the only way we will survive as a family is if we support and believe in each other. Each family member is responsible for doing his or her part to ensure the family is a strong and supportive one and each of us is equally responsible in watching and taking care of other. The lions represent the mother and father and they are the one in charge of the overall guidance, direction and protection of the family. The lions were chosen because lions work as teams, they symbolize strength, royalty (as depicted by the crown on their head) and leadership.

The rope around each lion ties and bond the family to each other and the values the family believe in and live by; we are a family of one. Each lion has a set of wings that represent the mother and father always lifting up the family, taking the family to new heights whether its in the commitment and values of the family or the direction the family is going. The wings on the lions as well as the wings of the dove also represent although in less significant value aviation and say at least one member in the family is a pilot or a part of the aviation community.

The quote “Le chéile ag gach duine a bhaint amach níos” on the bottom banner which is in Irish translate to “Together Everyone Achieve More” is the bedrock foundation of the Barnes family (Barnes is a Irish, Scottish and English name that derive from the word barn and so is the reason why the motto is in Irish). We are a family that work together in all manner of life. We believe that we are and act like a team, a team that love and support each other. A team that when times are difficult we bond tighter together like a Chinese finger trap and become unbreakable. The Barnes family is a family that is many working as one.

Coat of Arm Flag: In addition to creating the COA I decide to create a flag to go with it. Below is a rough idea of what that flag will look like.

Family Flag

So there you have it, my one member family COA and flag, a visual represtation of who I am and what I stand for. The final product is months if not about a year away from completing, but its a nice and fun hobby. Afterall this is who I am and it won't be rush. BTW, this isn't the project I'm working on that I told you about in another blog, that project is still under wrap.

1 comment:

  1. I love it! I think it is a beautiful idea and special gesture. I want to eventually do the same for my family. It's ok that you are the only one in your family. You are just the first half of long lineage of family that has yet to come. I can't wait to see ur COA and flag when it is complete!